The Clinton Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to rezone some land to commercial on Highway 65 North.

The land in question is owned by Jared Standridge and is the future home of an insurance office. He bought the land from Bob Galbraith who has a commercial greenhouse nearby.

Galbraith told the board he was not opposed to the rezoning, but wanted to know just exactly what is and isn’t zoned for commercial in the area.

“It’s been a mess from Day One,” he said.

“Are we going to make it up as we go along?” he continued.

City Zoning official Dwight Wilson said he thought it already was commercial. The panel voted to give the parcel a commercial zone designation.

Next up, the commission heard from Clinton businesswoman Kitty Murdock who is asking that the city drop fees for business signs. Murdock presented her arguments at the Aug. 8 City Council meeting, and was told by the mayor to take it up with the zoning commission.

“The economy is bad,” Murdock said. “We need to be proactive” to help small businesses in Clinton, she told the panel.

Murdock cited a case where a local business got a new sign and had to pay $97 for a new sign permit.

“Anytime a sign is relocated or restructured it has to be re-permitted,” Wilson said. He said there is nothing new about that in the recently passed ordinance.

He said the zoning board is not trying to hurt businesses by making them pay for signs. Rather, he said, the city is trying to attract new businesses by making the town look better.

Clinton businessman Johnny Rhoda told the commission that, “We should not be adding additional fees to any business that wants to come into a dying town.”

He asked the panel what it did as far as “planning,” and said the town is “dirty with uncut grass and falling awnings.”

Wilson said he knows of three businesses currently considering locating in Clinton.

“The future of Clinton is to attract people coming down Highway 65,” he said. It also is imperative to get motorists to visit the downtown, he said.

“It’s not that we’re not doing anything,” Wilson said. “We’re working hard.”

The commission decided to talk again at its September meeting about whether to recommend any changes to the sign ordinance.